Choosing a college is an exciting time for a student. There are many different factors to consider when you narrow down your school list. Unless you have decided to apply Early Decision, it’s best to wait until all decisions are received, along with any financial aid or merit award letters. Keep in mind that colleges have enrollment deadlines. Most are May 1, but it’s best to double check with your schools. As a Nashville-based private college admissions advisor, I meet with several students each year who struggle to weigh the pros and cons. Below is my top ten checklist to consider when making this crucial decision.
Are you a homebody? Will you be emotionally okay being a plane ride away? Do you favor an urban setting or are you more into the traditional college town environment? Is being in the middle of nowhere someplace you can see yourself for four years?
2. Student Body
Do you like “being a number,” or do you prefer having close relationships with faculty members? Can you see yourself learning better in a lecture hall of 400 students or a small cohort of 20? Or both?
3. Career Services
How can the school prepare you for the job force? Are there internship opportunities? Do they have resume-review sessions?
Factor the total cost including tuition, room & board, books, spending money, and travel for each semester.
5. Health & Safety
What systems are in place to make sure you feel safe and secure? What are recent crime statistics in that area? What types of health services provided?
If you are going in “undecided,” are there a range of academic majors from you to choose? If you have declared your major, where is this ranked on US News and World Report?
7. Student Life
What activities can you see yourself getting involved with outside of the classroom?
8. Transfer Rate
How many students transfer out of the school each year? A low transfer rate is good.
9. Retention Rate
How many students stay at that school each year? A high retention rate is good.
Do students look happy? How do you feel when you are walking around campus? Do you like the food?
Of course, there are many other factors one should consider before committing to a college, but after years of working as a Franklin and Brentwood, TN educational consultant, these are what I find to be the most important.